Carthage Central announces Class of 2020 leaders

CARTHAGE, NY — On behalf of the Carthage Central School District, HS Principal Kathaleen Beattie is pleased to announce its academic leaders for the Class of 2020.

Our Valedictorian is Mary Katherine Root, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin and Daphne Root of Black River, and our Salutatorian is Itai Avraham Parnes, son of Dr. Nata Parnes and Mrs. Michal Setti Parnes of Carthage.

As the top students in the class after 3 1⁄2 years, Mary achieved an average of 99.496%, and Itai attained an average of 98.439%.

The Carthage CSD extends its congratulations to the Root and Parnes families and recognizes their continued dedication to education and the Carthage School Community.

Ranked first in her class, Mary has been recognized for her academic standing by being a member of the National Honor Society and serving as its President her senior year. She also earned the AP Scholar with Honor award and was named to the President’s List at Jefferson Community College in her junior year. Mary’s
additional academic-related experiences and accolades include HOBY Leadership, NYS Regional HOBY Conference (10), Horizons III, STEM program hosted by Clarkson University (10), and Elk’s Club Student of the Month (12).

As a prominent contributor to our Fine Arts program, Mary’s involvement illustrated her talents as a multi-faceted musician and performer. As an instrumental musician, she was a member of the Area All-State Band (9, 10, 11, 12), Clarinet Section Leader (11, 12), Bi-County Band, Clarinet (9, 10, 11, 12), Pep Band (9,
10, 11, 12), Concert Band (9, 10, 11, 12-Completed up through NYSSMA Level VI adjudication), Bi-County Jazz Band, Tenor Saxophone (12), Jazz Band, and Tenor Saxophone (10, 11, 12). As a vocal musician, she was a member of Carthage Chorale (9, 10, 11, 12-Completed up through NYSSMA Level VI adjudication),
Bi-County Chorus (11, 12), and Camerata Singers (11, 12). She was a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society (11,12).

Mary performed in the Carthage HS Spring Musicals all four years of high school. Her roles included Bielke in Fiddler on the Roof (9), a member of Fagin’s Gang in Oliver (10), Jenny in Footloose (11), and Sister Mary Theresa in Sister Act (12).

In addition to her academic and artistic talents, Mary competed as a Varsity and JV soccer player, including being named JV Team Captain her sophomore year. She was a volunteer for the Carthage Backpack Program (11, 12) and selected to be a Student Representative for the CHS Building Planning Team (11, 12).

The District wishes Mary great success in the future as a Biochemistry Major and a member of the Integral Honors Program at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY.

As the Salutatorian of the Class of 2020, Itai Parnes has been a hardworking member of the school community. As a member of the National Honor Society (11,12), he is also a member of the French Club (12).

Itai has received numerous awards and achievements including, WWNY Channel 7 Academic All-Star (12), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in the Study of Mathematics and Science (12), New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence (12), 2nd Place NYS Key Club Oratorical Contest “What Service Means to Me” (11), Thousand Islands Writing Literacy Contest Winner (10), Student of the Month (10), and CHS High Honor Roll (9-12).

As an outstanding student in the area of mathematics, Itai participated in four years of Math League Competitions where Carthage High School earned First Place (9, 11) and Second Place (10). As an accelerated math student, Itai participated in Jefferson Community College’s Math League where they earned 5th Place (10). He also employed his mathematical expertise as the treasurer for both Student Government and 12 Honors (12). Because of his genuine enthusiasm for math, Itai was instrumental in establishing the Math Club, which is now an officially-recognized student group. He served as the Math Club President (9-12) hoping to foster a greater interest in math amongst his peers. As President, he organized an International Dance Party which not only raised funds for the Math Club but also for the Multicultural Club.

As a student competitor in many forums, Itai was a member of the Carthage Varsity Tennis (11, 12), Varsity Soccer (12), and JV Soccer teams (9 & 10). Additionally, through his membership in the Carthage Soccer Club, he was involved in various community service projects. He was also a valued contributor of the Whiz Quiz team (9-12), which reached the Finals twice (9, 11). As a Carthage HS representative, Itai participated in the Science Olympiad regional “Game On” Game Design competition at Clarkson University and finished fifth (9).

In addition to his academic and athletic contributions, Itai was actively involved in Key Club (9-12) serving as its webmaster (10-12) to boost involvement and share community programs (9-12). He was also active in the Carthage 12 Honors class which focuses upon community service including “Meet the Candidates” Night, annual Blood Drives, and Veteran’s Day recognition events. Itai was a creator and host of the CHS’ weekly Comet Talk segments (12). Additionally, Itai was dedicated to supporting the vital Carthage Backpack program as a student volunteer (9-12).

Because of Itai’s interest in STEM, he has held intern positions at both Carthage Area Hospital’s IT department (11) and at Kinney Drugs’ Pharmacy (12). Most recently, Itai has been providing technical support and doing statistical analysis for a COVID-19 related study through the Carthage Area Hospital, which was recently submitted for peer review to the journal Orthopedic. Although Itai is currently undecided about his college choice, the District wishes Itai great success in his
future endeavors.

The Carthage Central School District and Robert G. Wallace Chapter of the National Honor Society will present Mary and Itai with award plaques and gifts to signify their outstanding achievements.